Car thieves jailed for 24 years

Karl Morley, jailed for nine years.
Karl Morley, jailed for nine years.
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Three Sheffield crooks who stole high performance cars from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire during an eight-month spree have been jailed for more than 24 years.

Grant Johnson, Dane Shaw and Karl Morley targeted a string of homes while the occupants were in bed, forced their way in, snatched keys and stole the vehicles outside.

Grant Johnson jailed for seven-and-a-half years for car thefts and burglaries.

Grant Johnson jailed for seven-and-a-half years for car thefts and burglaries.

Between them Johnson, aged 28, and Shaw and Morley, both 25, stole 32 cars in 47 burglaries. The models included Audis, Volkswagens, BMWs and a Porsche.

Homes were targeted in Sheffield, Barnsley, Eckington, Dronfield, Killamarsh, Chesterfield and Buxton, as well as further afield in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Detectives in Nottinghamshire first began an investigation following a report of a burglary in Sutton-in-Ashfield in April 2012, Leicester Crown Court heard.

While the occupants were in bed, suspects forced their way into the house and snatched car keys before stealing a red VW Golf parked outside.

Dane Shaw, jailed for eight years for car thefts and burglaries.

Dane Shaw, jailed for eight years for car thefts and burglaries.

The next month, in a similar burglary, an Audi TT was taken from outside a home in Mansfield - and homes in Worksop, Mansfield Woodhouse, Ollerton, Rainworth and Harworth also went on to be targeted.

But after Nottinghamshire Police liaised with Derbyshire Police it transpired detectives in Chesterfield were investigating a similar spate of offences.

And officers from both forces then began a two-year investigation, piecing together evidence, gathering intelligence and trawling mobile phone records to build a case against Johnson, Shaw and Morley.

Eventually Johnson, of Waltheof Road, Manor; Shaw, of Paddock Crescent, Arbourthorne; and Morley, of Spinkhill Road, Richmond, were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and theft, and conspiracy to commit theft of motor vehicles between March and November 2012.

They all pleaded guilty - and Morley was jailed for nine years, Shaw for eight, and for Johnson seven-and-a-half.

One 32-year-old victim whose car was stolen from outside her home described the terror of being woken by the sound of her dog barking - and seeing a flashlight in her hallway.

“I then remember looking out of the window and seeing a man standing under the floodlight looking right up at me. I just froze,” she said.

“I went to the window and shouted as if I was speaking to someone else, but that didn’t deter him. After walking across the street he stopped, turned round and went back into the house three times before he eventually left.

“Other than the initial shock, I didn’t think the incident had really affected me.

“But as time has gone on I have become more anxious and angry about what they did and that is something I have struggled to cope with. That man instantly took away my feeling of safety.”

Det Insp Richard Monk said after the case: “This was a calculated, highly organised and pre-planned operation in which Johnson, Shaw and Morley picked their targets based on the value of the vehicle parked outside.

“A dedicated team of officers has worked tirelessly for two years to build a robust case against these three men, who intruded on the lives of innocent victims, shattering their sense of security and making them feel vulnerable in their own homes.”

Det Insp Julian Wilson added: “Johnson, Shaw and Morley used sophisticated techniques and carried out targeted burglaries.

“Many of their crimes had a profound and lasting effect on their victims.”